Dead Hedgehog in House
2nd May 2022 at 6:20 pm #36870
Finally cleaned out the house today; amongst the nest of grasses, leaves was a dead hog. (I tried cleaning about a month ago, but lifting the bedding saw there was a resident still, so just replaced it gently.) I don’t know now if it was alive or dead at that point.
I am devastated. I horribly suspect that I might have (in ignorance) caused it’s death 🙁 The house was bought off eBay; plywood with entrance tunnel. I very much fear it died from lack of ventilation. So sad – I was trying to help but so guilty if a cheap house was the cause of death.
Will look at natural nests, brick built or quality wooden house for the future, but for now RIP hoggie.3rd May 2022 at 1:41 pm #36902
So sorry to hear about the poor hog – it must have been a horrible shock for you to find it.
Very sadly, hibernation is one of the most dangerous (natural) times for hogs and some of them do not survive. They have to get the levels of the two different fats just right to firstly keep them ticking over during hibernation and secondly to enable them to arouse themselves from hibernation, possibly several times. Added to that is that some of them will be older hogs and potentially die for that reason.
So I think it’s unlikely that it was anything to do with the box. And don’t forget – the hog chose the box, so must have thought it was suitable. The tunnel should have provided sufficient ventilation.
During hibernation the hog’s natural processes slow right down. Quote from ‘Hedgehogs’ by Pat Morris: “…..The heart rate slows to less then 20 beats a minute, respiration almost stops altogether and up to an hour may elapse between short bursts of breathing. …”
So don’t beat yourself up too much – I am sure that you have been trying your very best for the hogs and I suspect haven’t done anything which is harmful. It’s easy to blame ourselves, but the truth is that some hogs will die whatever we do or don’t do.
But yes, RIP hoggie – always very sad. But I’m sure you will continue to your best for all the other hogs which come your way. I hope you are able to continue enjoying their visits.
p.s. Don’t forget to enter the poor hog onto the Big Hedgehog Map. I always think that it’s a way of remembering them and making sure that their life can make a difference to other hogs. You might also be interested in this https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-ive-found-a-dead-hedgehog/3rd May 2022 at 4:20 pm #36909
Thank you Nic for your kind words and reassurance. Every creature has a lifespan, I know we can’t play God to the natural world.
In my ignorance I assumed the entrance tunnel would provide ventilation. But both farther back the tunnel and the rest chamber itself were pretty well packed. Some straw that I had left nearby but also lots of leaves (I never clear them in the Autumn) so little hedgehog had made a lovely nest.
I did wonder if it was a late born hoglet, it was not a chunky specimen and there was still a hedgehog feeding beyond Christmas.
It was upsetting to find. I was so thrilled to discover the visitors to my garden in the first lockdown, since then have tried to support them. They give me so pleasure; they are characterful, fascinating wild creatures so will continue to try and help them.
I have already logged the sadly dead hedgehog on the map, but thank you for the link – will go there next.
Again thank you for your support.3rd May 2022 at 5:43 pm #36910
I have logged the details of finding the dead hedgehog for this study as Nic suggested. Hopefully they will gather data over a wide area and this research will help to protect the precious hedgehog population we still have.
On a lighter note; the night before I discovered the sadly dead hog, there was a tremendous caterwauling (hedgiewauling?) in the wee small hours. What a racket!!! Was it Romeo and Juliet? Casanova and the tart who lurks under the crab apple tree? Who remembers the old joke? ‘How do hedgehogs mate? – with great care!’
I am still so sad at the loss of the precious hog but hopefully there may be new life in my garden soon.4th May 2022 at 5:59 pm #36936
Just a quick update. Was still feeling sad at the loss of a hog, so sat out in the peace of the garden yesterday as the light was fading. Between 9.10pm and 10pm I saw nine hedgehogs. Nine! Could have been the same ones coming in the back then out front, then round again but they would have to have been the Usain Bolt of the hog world! 🙂 Two together trying to feed, bit of pushy shovy going on but Alpha male won of course. Lost one hog but life goes on.5th May 2022 at 6:02 pm #36944
That’s great news that you have lots of hogs visiting – a definite hog seal of approval for what you’re doing to help them!13th May 2022 at 11:19 am #37129
I too have found 2 dead hedgehogs in the hibernating box when I cleaned it today. To be honest I was shocked and saddened. I kept thinking ‘ What did I do wrong??’ I’ve not had this problem before, but I guess it’s a number of factors. I did feed them (in a separate station) all through the winter months and I have been doing for last 3 years.
Kass13th May 2022 at 5:22 pm #37130
Oh bless Kassie! As you see from my posts, I too found it so heart-rending to discover a dead hog. And I know my immediate thoughts like yours were ‘what did I do wrong?’
Please read Nic’s informative and supportive reply in this thread; much about the dangers of hibernation etc.
I know the sadness can be quite overwhelming but be proud you have supported your hedgehogs.
I was surprised you had two hedgehogs in the box – perhaps someone wiser than me might know why they chose to hibernate together? Were they late born siblings if they feeding through the winter?
Whatever, just wanted to send a message of support and understanding.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.